How to Make Lemon Curd

Lemon curd isn't hard to make from scratch! The reward is a spread that's smooth, creamy, sweet, and tart. Lemon curd is great in cakes or pies, spread on scones, or licked right off the spoon.

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 2 1/4 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice, from about 4 large lemons
  • Zest of four lemons
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Pinch of salt

Method

1 Get organized: Once you start making the lemon curd, it’s best not to pause. Make sure all of your ingredients and equipment are prepped and ready so you can quickly grab each as you need it. Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium sized bowl, and set this next to your stove. Have a whisk and a rubber spatula ready to go.

Lemon Curd Recipe lemons in a bowl  Homemade Lemon Curd cutting the butter Easy Lemon Curd Recipe zesting the lemon

2 Heat the curd on the stovetop: In a medium sauce pan, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Set over medium heat. Continue whisking until fully combined and uniform in consistency.

Continue whisking and the add the juice, zest and a pinch of salt. Once that looks well incorporated, add the butter a piece or two at a time while whisking continuously. Let each piece partially melt before adding more. As you whisk, make sure you get into the nooks and crannies of your pot.

Easy Lemon Curd Recipe starting the curd Recipe for Lemon Curd add the zest

3 Continue cooking the curd until thickened: Continue to cook the curd, whisking occasionally until it thickens to a pudding-like consistency, about 10 minutes total from the start of cooking. Remove from heat. (The curd will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Lemon Curd Recipe thickened curd

4 Strain the curd: Strain your curd through the fine mesh sieve to remove the zest and any cooked eggy bits. Use a spatula to push the curd through, then stir for another two minutes to help it cool down more quickly.

5 Cool and refrigerate: Transfer the curd to a jar with an airtight lid, but leave it uncovered as it cools (I use Ball or Weck canning jars) on the counter top for about 15 minutes. Once at room temp, cover tightly with the lid and transfer to fridge or freezer.

Recipe for Lemon Curd

6 Store the curd: Lemon curd will keep in your refrigerator for up to a month according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. You can also store it in the freezer for up to 1 year. To thaw, transfer your curd from the freezer to the fridge 24 hours before you need it.

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Comments

  • Sadie

    I’ve tried many recipes for lemon curds and this is one of the best. It comes together quickly and effortlessly. The texture is creamy and smooth, and it’s refreshingly tart. My only criticism is that although it was great on scones, I’m not sure that it was firm enough to be used as a cake filling.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Cathy Nicholson

    Good morning! I am going to make this lemon curd for Mother’s Day dessert. Wondering if anyone has added Limoncello liquor to the curd? Would the alcohol affect the finished product? Thanks!

    • Summer Miller

      Hi, Cathy! The Limoncello would create a thinner curd. Depending on how you want to use it a thin curd might serve you well. This curd is bursting with lemon flavor. I would taste it before adding the Limoncello to see if the addition is worth the risk! If you do add the Limoncello, I would whisk it in at the end and just add a little at a time.

  • Lena

    Made it with a papaya I happened to have. Pureyed, wit her juice and zest of. One lemon. 1 eggyoke per 1/4 cup of liquid and one for the pot. 1/4 cup of sugar & 1/4 cup of butter per 1/2 cup of liquid . Worked great! Will try other fruit! . IMmagine blackberries! Kiwy! ………

  • Adanna

    Hey summer, it’s my first time making curd of any type, I was wondering if gee would be a good substitute for butter?

    • Summer

      Hi, Adanna! That’s a great question. I didn’t test the recipe using ghee but I’ve seen ghee used in paleo lemon curd recipes, so I think it would work just fine in this one as well! Good luck! Please let us know how it turns out!

  • Ravenna

    Hi Summer – I am excited to try this as I just picked up a batch of meyer lemons. I wanted to check, was your butter softened or fridge cold? Thank you for writing up such a comprehensive recipe!

    • Summer

      Hi, Ravenna! Great question! My butter was cold but honestly it doesn’t matter. You are melting it anyway so room temp butter will work just fine! Good luck!

  • Dee Andespa

    It looks easy to follow the steps and I will definitely try to make this at home. Thanks for the recipe

    • Summers

      Hi, Dee! I’m glad the recipe looks good to you! Let us know how it goes!

  • Adrianne

    I made this last night and it’s really great. The flavor is spot on and texture was velvety and thick. This morning I took a spoonful of the now cold curd and it was slightly bumpy. Not gritty or egg curd-y, just little tiny chunks throughout. Any ideas what may have happened??

    xxxxxyyyyy

    • Summer

      Hi, Adrianne! I must admit you’ve stumped me. It’s difficult for me to know without seeing it. Did you strain the curd when you first made it? Is it possible the little chunks are bits of lemon zest? Or undesolved butter? I would gently press the curd through a fine mesh strainer and see if that solves the problem. Good luck!

  • Sarah

    I’ve made lemon curd before and, though I’ve only used egg yolks, I’m interested by the use of whole eggs in this recipe. Can you explain the difference between using whole eggs and only egg yolks in a lemon curd? How does each impact the final product?

    Thank you!

    • Summer

      Hi, Sarah! Citrus curds are pretty flexible, which is what makes them so wonderful to make. Butter has the biggest impact on texture, but a yolk-only curd tends to be richer, a bit more dense than a whole egg curd and brighter in color (either more orange or yellow depending on the type of egg you use.) Yolk-only, whole egg, and combination yolk and whole egg curds are all thick enough to layer between cakes. As long as you keep the egg to juice ratio in mind, feel free to experiment with everything else including using whole eggs, yolks only or some combination of the two.

  • Amy C

    I made this lemon curd this morning before work and it was ridiculously easy and delicious. It is the perfect balance of sweet and tart and it thickened up beautifully. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Terry

    Thanks to your comprehensive directions, I could be confident in the results. We’re going to try the lemon curd with scones and mixed berries and whipped cream. Yum!

    • Summer

      Hi, Terry! Lemon curd and scones are a match made in heaven! Enjoy!

  • Silvia

    I made lemon curd once in my life and I didn’t like it. And now I am afraid of trying again because I don’t know if I didn’t make it well or I just don’t like it. But I’m so curious.

    • Summer

      Hi, Silvia! I completely understand. I suppose you’d have to know what is was you didn’t like about it. Was it too sweet? Too tart? Was something off with the texure? I tried to write solutions to all the possible things that could go wrong so it comes out perfect every time. If you do decide to try it again, let us know how it turns out! Good Luck!

  • Sally Ann

    Can this curd be used as a filling to be put on a bar (flour,butter, confection sugar and baked for a bit) crust. Will it stick to the bar type crust? If so, what could I put on top of the lemon curd?
    Thanks, Sally

    • Summer

      Hi, Sally Ann! It sounds like you want to make lemon bars. The lemon topping on a lemon bar has flour in it then it’s cooked or baked. This curd doesn’t have flour and it’s been cooked on the stove top. It wouldn’t set up the same way a lemon bar would set up, but it would still be delicious on a short bread crust. It just wouldn’t be as firm, and I wouldn’t bake it. Because it doesn’t have flour in it lemon curd is a little wet, so if you wanted to dust the top of it with powdered sugar as you would a lemon bar, the sugar would just dissolve into the curd. You could however top it with whipped cream or dot it with strawberries. I hope I answered your question.

  • Michael

    I cook it in a bain marie, with curved base (no nooks to worry about!)

    xxxxxyyyyy